Gov. Cuomo threatens to revoke National Grid's license over gas moratorium

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a stand against National Grid Tuesday, saying either the utility company provides gas to all of its customers, or it loses its license.

Lepsan Shum began renovations on his East New York restaurant last year, but little did he know that when they were ready to reopen in May, he'd have to consider closing up shop because National Grid is refusing to reinstall the restaurant's gas meter.

"(It's) very difficult ... because I have kids to support you know rent to pay ... we cannot get any income, it's just like bleeding money," says Shum.

Cuomo and the utility company have been in a standoff since May, when New York regulators blocked the construction of a $1 billion natural gas pipeline that would run from Pennsylvania, to New Jersey, to New York. National Grid says the pipeline is crucial to meeting the rising energy demand in the region, and imposed a moratorium on activating has for new and returning customers.

"They're putting their own personal business ahead of the needs of the people that they made a commitment to serve," says state Assemblyman William Colton.

Cuomo threatened to revoke the company's license to operate in southern New York in a letter he released Tuesday. He says the company has 14 days to give a viable plan on how to provide service on Long Island and parts of New York City. He says National Grid has options.

"You can truck gas, you can barge gas, you can do an LNG facility where you can do a pipeline, but at least post the options, don't say it's my way or the highway," says Cuomo.

National Grid officials say they will review the governor's letter and respond accordingly.


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